We just love jalapenos! My husband in particular. We love them on pizza, in Mexican dishes and salsa. Paul likes them in breakfast sandwiches and omelets, and the list goes on. Every year I plant pepper plants and can them for the winter months. It seems that the fresh ones that we get from the local grocery stores just don’t quite have the flavor and punch as the ones we grow in our own back yard.
The canning process I use is the hot water bath version and It’s really easy.
Here’s how I can them.
Canning Jalapeno Peppers
First we should talk about safety. Jalapenos are hot. Capsaicin is an irritant that is contained mainly in the inside white membrane that surrounds the seeds of chili peppers. If you get the capsaicin in your eyes, mouth and for some people even just on their skin, it creates a burning sensation and there will be pain! So, I recommend anyone cutting up hot peppers to wear rubber gloves.
Now that we’ve had the safety lesson, let’s get our first order of business taken care of. Yep, we’ve gotta have our tall glass of Sweet Tea with lemon on stand by, sipping as we go. This is going to be hot work and there is nothing more satisfying than a sweet tea with lemon!
Got your tea ready? Let’s get started on the peppers.
Weigh about 2 3/4 pounds of fresh jalapenos. This will make about 6 pints. Give them a good wash in a colander and let them drain.
On a non porous surface and with a good sharp knife, slice them about a 1/4 inch thick and put them in a large bowl. Set aside. Don’t forget the gloves! And for Pete’s sake, don’t rub your eyes or face and men… well, just be careful. The reason I suggest a non porous surface is, the capsaicin will get into surfaces like wood and the next few things you cut on that board will have some heat on it whether you want it to or not.
In a large pot, combine the vinegar, water and minced garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Strain out the garlic pieces. I have a small handy dandy strainer that I can swish through the liquid and get the garlic out. If it’s easier for you, pour the vinegar mixture through a strainer into another pot.
I actually just had another thought for next time. Instead of putting in minced garlic, just smash a couple of whole ones and drop them in. They would be much easier to remove and you would still get the same great flavor! (Note to myself)
In a deep saute’ pan, place clean canning jars upside down. Add enough water to cover about an inch of the jar. Bring the water to a low boil, then turn down the burner to a medium-low heat. Let the jars simmer until they are too hot to touch. This will take about 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the jars. As you can see, I have a mixture of sizes. I originally planned to do all of the peppers in pint jars. However, we canned green beans and I only had two pint jars left and I just didn’t feel like going out and buying more. So, I found some half pint sizes and used them. No biggie. I really like to try and use whatever I have on hand.
When the jars are good and hot, carefully take one out of the water and set on a safe surface. I usually use a dry hand towel to pick them up.
Pack in the sliced jalapenos up to the neck, or that first rib. When I pack them, I mean I PACK them in. If you don’t, at the end of the canning process you’ll have jalapenos floating in liquid. I like for the jars to be nice and full.
One thing about canning jalapenos, if you can them with just the vinegar mixture, they become a soft and somewhat soggy texture. We prefer a crunchy texture. This is where we add pickling crisp granules. Go by the directions of whatever brand you’re using. Here I added a scant 1/4 teaspoon per pint jar.
Add enough of the vinegar mixture to come within about a 1/2 inch from the top. Dry the top of the jar off.
Here I forgot to take a picture of putting the lid in the hot water with the jars. The lids have a rubber gasket on the under side. You want to get it hot before you put it on the jar. The way I do that is drop it in the water with the jars that are heated. Wait 30 seconds or so and using a pair of regular kitchen tongs, take it out of the water and lay it on the jar.
Then place the ring on top and hand tighten as much as you can. I usually hold the jar with a dry hand towel as I tighten the ring.
Place the jars in a large tall stock pot or a canning pot. I don’t have a canning pot, so I just use a stock pot.
Add enough water to cover the jars 3/4 of the way up. Since they’re not sealed yet, I don’t like for the water to reach the lids.
Place the cover on the pot and bring the water to a low boil. Reduce the heat to a medium-low heat allowing it to continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat.
Using one of those handy dandy canning tongs, carefully lift the hot jars from the water bath and place them on a dry towel.
Over the next few hours, you will hear a popping noise. That’s the sign that they are sealed! Once I place them on the towel, I don’t usually move them for 24 hours. Not sure I have a valid reason for that other than I’m afraid they won’t properly seal. I just think they’re best left alone for a day or so.
Simple as that, you’ll be stocked for those winter soups and stews, pizzas, salsas and anything else you like to put jalapenos in.
If you like jalapenos, you may like these posts.
What’s your favorite dish to put jalapenos in?
Here’s the printer friendly version of this recipe. Enjoy!